Testing Pool Water at Walmart

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The bulk of the information in this post was obtained from the article Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Vol. 53


I frequently discuss the benefits of technology as it relates to the swimming pool industry.  The fact is that many companies are developing new products that make owning and maintaining a swimming pool much easier for the average person.  I still maintain that this is true but is there a line somewhere that shouldn’t be crossed?  The fact is that as with most businesses the pool industry is a supply and demand type situation.

People all over the place would love to have a swimming pool, and pool builders everywhere would love to sell all of them a pool.  So what is stopping this from happening.  To start I know that not everyone has the means to afford a brand new inground pool.  However one of the most common reasons people give as to why they don’t own a pool is that it is too much work and costs too much to maintain.  That being said I can see why all of these companies are coming up with products that take the work and cost out of the maintenance of a pool.  When you have pool builders telling these manufacturers that their customers want something that makes maintenance easier of course they are going to work on something that they can sell them.  That’s just good business in my opinion.  The point is that in this day and age we as consumers are always looking for quick easy results.  This is why you constantly see commercials about how to lose weight without exercise.  This is why there is a restaurant on every corner in most cities.  This is why there has been a technological boom in our society in the last 20 years or so.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, are all a result of our obsession with doing things right now.  We have DVD players and Blue Ray players because we don’t want to have to fast forward through the previews.  We can shop from home for anything imaginable so we don’t have to make a trip to the store.  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that, because honestly I did all my Christmas shopping online just so I could avoid the craziness at the mall.  The point is that we seek convenience in our lives.  So this brings me to the main point of this post.

I recently read an article in Pool and Spa News about water test kiosks.  More specifically the article was titles “Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On” by Nate Traylor and it can be found in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Volume 10.  I have worked in a swimming pool store in the past and I have seen the water test being done.  This is something that most swimming pool retail stores offer to their customers.  It allows their customers the ability to know how there water is.  There are specific standards that should be followed in regard to the water you swim in.  The water test is done to ensure that you have the appropriate amount of chemicals, TDS’, etc. in your pool to make it safe to swim in.  Having the water tested from time to time will allow you to know what chemicals if any that you need to add to your pool.  It also allows that swimming pool company to sell you the products that they carry.  It has basically been this way for years.  However now a company called HTH Pool Care Products owned by a Swiss biotech company called Lonza has developed and introduced a new way of testing your water called Test to Swim.  This is a self serving kiosk that allows customers the ability to test their own water through a series of touch screen prompts.

This kiosk is currently located in 215 Walmart stores across the U.S.  and the kiosk is so high tech that it will actually analyze the water and generate a list of recommended HTH products and dosage for you pool based on the sample.  With this and other smart technology products their is some concern on the part of the pool store owners that they will loose their competitive edge against the big box stores.  The reality of the situation in my opinion is that while there may be some impact on the smaller pool stores in the country as a result of this water testing kiosk, but in the long run it won’t be too drastic.  The smaller pool stores will still be needed by consumers for their expertise in the swimming pool industry.  A lot of smaller companies offer full pool services which includes weekly maintenance and pool cleaning.  This is something that offers consumers that convenience factor I mentioned earlier.  The reason that this kiosk exists is to offer folks the convenience of making one stop while they are out running errands rather than multiple.  Lonza officials stated that this kiosk is geared toward the busy mom who is likely to be shopping at Walmart anyway.  Another thing that the article touches on is the fact that this technology is not limited to the Lonza company.  There is another company called Blue Ocean Corals that is using similar technology in pet stores to test the water of consumers’ aquariums.  The technology is very similar and the user interface is also like that of Lonza’s kiosk.  Making the switch from aquarium water to pool water would not be that difficult.   Blue Ocean Corals would however need a partner in the pool industry to buy into the technology.  The question was raised as to why a pool company would want one of these types of kiosks in their store, and the answer is simple.  To offer customers the ease of testing water and to cut down on labor costs for their business.

While this cutting edge technology is infiltrating the swimming pool industry there are some that are not happy with this idea.  I would like your feedback on this please.  In my opinion I think that this product represents another step forward in the ease of swimming pool ownership.  I may not agree with all of Walmart’s business practices but the fact is that with this kiosk available there they offer their customers more convenience which is something that most people are open to.  The technology available today is something that allows people everywhere to rethink their stance on pool ownership and could potentially increase the amount of pools being sold by smaller companies and pool builders.

Give me your thoughts please.

The bulk of the information in this post was obtained from the article Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Vol. 53